FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — It’s over.
After nearly three seasons as the face of the Jets’ franchise, after giving maximum emotional and physical effort to the team that drafted him sixth overall in 2017, and after seeing that team entertain trade discussions about him over the previous two days, Jamal Adams’ time in New York will prematurely come to an end.
It’s a matter of when, not if.
Despite general manager Joe Douglas’ contention on Tuesday that he was simply being responsible by taking calls from teams inquiring about Adams, the Pro Bowl safety maintained a day later that he was indeed being shopped and that he was hurt that the team would even entertain offers. Especially after Adams felt assured after a meeting last week with Douglas and coach Adam Gase that the Jets considered him a major piece of the team in the years to come.
“The Rams don’t take calls on Aaron Donald,” Adams told reporters after practice Wednesday. “The Patriots don’t take calls on Tom Brady. That's where I hold myself, in that regard.”
Adams believes the Jets should have taken a similar approach with him in the run-up to Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline. And while he insists that he remains happy to be a Jet “right now,” he spoke in the present tense and not the future. When asked if he felt there was still a long-term future in New York, Adams replied, “I don’t know.”
We’ve seen this movie before.
We’ve seen it with Odell Beckham Jr. And Jeremy Shockey. And Keyshawn Johnson. And so many other players who held themselves in high regard — higher than they deserved, in many cases.
Adams may put himself on a level with Brady and Donald, but that’s simply not the case. Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, and Donald is a future Hall of Fame defensive lineman who won back-to-back NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.
They are generational players.
Adams is a terrific safety, no doubt, but he’s simply not an impact player like the two he mentioned. He’s a Pro Bowl-caliber safety on a 1-6 team who has won 10 games in his career with the Jets. The poor record, of course, isn’t all his fault. In fact, he is part of the solution, not part of the problem.
But the hurt he expressed to reporters after admitting it was too soon to talk to Douglas or Gase made it clear that this is no short-term issue. The problem will linger until the day that Douglas trades Adams, because it is difficult to imagine any other scenario at this point.
Perhaps cooler heads will prevail and Adams, a highly emotional player who wears his heart on his sleeve, will be convinced by Douglas and Gase that they do consider him an indispensable — if not untouchable — player moving forward. A ton of money in a new contract offer would get the job done, but Adams still has two years remaining on his rookie deal.
Given Douglas’ willingness to at least listen to offers for Adams, it stands to reason that he’ll do the same once the trading period resumes in the offseason. And if Adams clearly doesn’t want to be here — which seems to be the case once the season ends — then Douglas will have no alternative except to deal him.
Better to get something of value for Adams and use the draft-choice compensation to find an adequate replacement. Adams admitted that he would have been happy to be dealt to the Cowboys, the team he grew up rooting for while being raised in Texas. Perhaps Dallas will be the team to make the best offer down the road. Or perhaps someone else will pony up enough draft picks to make a deal.
Douglas was absolutely right for taking calls on Adams, as well as Le’Veon Bell and Robby Anderson. You listen to what a team is willing to offer, and you decide if it’s worth it to move them. Especially when you’ve got a 1-6 team going nowhere.
Douglas said he didn’t believe any of the deals were commensurate with the talent level of the players, so he stood pat. Bell and Anderson were delighted they remained with the team and indicated as much on social media.
Adams took to Twitter immediately after Douglas’ media briefing on Tuesday and said the GM went behind his back and shopped him. He did not back off that stance Wednesday, the surest indication that he remains indignant that the Jets would even consider trading him.
It’s difficult to envision a scenario where Adams stays with the Jets beyond this season, and a divorce feels likely.
A safety spurned is not coming back.
Sorry, Adams is no Tom Brady.
He’s no Aaron Donald, either.